As a professional organizer, I believe in having plenty of easy-to-use laundry hampers. Sometimes the reason the dirty clothes don't make it into the laundry bin is that the bin is down the hall, not in the bedroom!
This laundry hamper from Simple Human has a lot going for it. The open top makes it easy to put things into the hamper. The double bags allow the end-users to sort darks vs. lights, or regular wash vs. dry cleaning. (Not everyone has room for a double-bag version, so Simple Human also provides a single-bag hamper.) And the bags are easy to remove from the frame and tote to the laundry room. Some end-users say they come off a bit too easily—coming loose when jostled by a vacuum cleaner, for example.
Some end-users prefer to have a laundry hamper that isn't so open—so the dirty laundry isn't on display, so the cats can't get into it quite so easily, etc. These Brabantia laundry bins accommodate that preference while allowing laundry to be placed in them without removing a lid. There's a removable, washable laundry bag inside, and Brabanita sells replacement bags; that's a nice way to protect the end-user's investment in the bin in case the bag gets ripped or stained. There are plenty of ventilation holes in the bin, too.
These laundry carts from Crate and Barrel and Restoration Hardware would suit an end-user who likes the super-easy-to-toss-into open look—and who has a laundry room down the hall from the bedroom or bathroom. With baskets that don't go all the way to the floor, there's no awkward reaching for laundry at the very bottom, but the a limited capacity.
The Lifter Hamper deals with just that problem. It's a bungee spring-loaded laundry hamper that drops down as laundry is added, and rises back up as laundry is removed.
The wheeled laundry carts above all work for a single-level home, but wouldn't work for end-users going up or down stairs, or out to the laundromat. For those users, the Polyp laundry basket, designed by Helen Steiner, does. End-users just put laundry through the hole in the center; when it's full, they remove it from the wall and cart it off to the laundry room. Another advantage of this design is that young children and pets won't be able to get into the Polyp, assuming it's placed high enough to be out of reach. But kids might have fun with this one for their own laundry, if it was placed low enough for them.
Another way to design for laundry is to build hampers into the cabinet or closet systems, with a pull-out or tilt-out design. I'd tend to want these in bedrooms or bathrooms, though; if they're in the laundry room, that's not as convenient for the end-users.
And here's the most innovative design I found (although it's just concept work): the iBasket, designed by Guopen Liang for the Electrolux Design Lab 2008 competition. The iBasket is a combination laundry hamper and washing machine. As the designer explains: "Take off your daily clothes, leave them inside and let iBasket do the rest. Its nice transparent body allows you to see through. It removes odors by sucking in fresh air. When clothes accumulate to a certain amount, it automatically starts washing. There's no need to push a single button. iBasket uses electrolytic water (zero detergent) to clean and kill bacteria. Once a cycle is done, the Wi-Fi connected basket will send a message to your PC or mobile."
I'm not sure how practical this would be—I can see wet clothes sitting around getting moldy when end-users don't see (or forget about) the clothes-wash-is-done message. If the device would also dry the clothes and fold them, then we'd really have something special!